Westminster housing madness

The West End Extra reports;

“Two-hundred-and-fifty families from neighbouring boroughs have been given tenancies in Westminster at a time when the council is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds housing families in expensive hotels because of a chronic shortage in affordable homes.

A Freedom of Information request by the West End Extra has revealed that Hammersmith & Fulham council granted 65 tenancies in Westminster since 2005.

The figures show that Kensington & Chelsea council has placed 160 “households” in private accommodation and 14 in housing association homes in Westminster.

Camden has placed 18 households in permanent accommodation and seven in temporary accommodation in Westminster since 2005.

At the same time Westminster council is spending £145,000 a week housing more than 120 families in hotels and forcing Westminster families to live outside the borough.

Responding to the figures Labour housing spokesman Cllr Guthrie McKie said the flow of residents was “another example of the madness” of a housing system that “defies logic.

He added: “One borough is transferring its residents to a neighbouring borough while Westminster, at the same time, is transferring its residents affected by the cap into Kensington hotels and other parts of London.

“Instead of a coherent and planned approach to the housing problem we have a bureaucratic mish-mash that just keeps stumbling on a new idea every day. And at the centre of all this is the lives of families with all the normal problems that families have – schooling, health, work.”

Figures from Kensington & Chelsea show the number of households placed in Westminster in 2012 had risen by 15 per cent since 2006.

But Cllr Jonathan Glanz, cabinet member for housing and property, said: “Demand for temporary properties between 2005-2010 was much lower than now so it is unsurprising that our neighbouring boroughs utilised short-term let properties in Westminster in that period as there wasn’t such extreme pressure for homes.”

He added: “These figures relate to the number of tenancies, rather than homes, which distorts the results. So it is likely that multiple households used the same property, each for a short period of time.

“It also highlights the problems with the previous welfare system, which allowed local authorities to buy up properties in much more expensive areas.

“All across London there is intense pressure on social housing stock and we need to work together to make best use of the homes available.”


This entry was posted in Housing, Housing Benefit, Temporary accommodation, Westminster Council waste and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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